For the past 25 years, January has marked one of the area’s favorite events: Winter WINEland along northern California’s Wine Road! During this much-anticipated event, participating wineries chase those winter blues away by hosting a vintage, varietal, or vertical tasting for the event’s weekend.
This year, Winter WINEland is slated for January 14-15 (11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day), and is a perfect reason to enjoy a bed and breakfast getaway here in northern Sonoma County!
For those of you who are new to the world of wine:
A VINTAGE wine tasting highlights several different years’ production of wines made from a single grape strain, no matter the source. Weather, soil conditions, the amount of sunlight, and more can affect the flavor of a particular grape. Because of these factors, there is no guarantee that wines from a particular grape will taste the same year after year. Vintage tastings allow you to experience these differences.
A VARIETAL wine tasting features several wines that are made from the same grape. The wines may be from a single winery, or they may be from a series of partner wineries, or even from different countries (depending on what the host has in mind). You may try a number of wines that are predominately made from the same grape, or you may try all the same wine from different sources (whether that be growing area, parts of the state/country, or parts of the world).
A VERTICAL wine tasting, different vintages (years) of the same wine type from the same winery are tasted and compared. This type of tasting emphasizes the unique flavors that are prevalent at a particular winery, and better understand how each vintage can be distinct, depending on the year.
Vintage = same grape, different years.
Varietal = same grape, different wines.
Vertical = same wine, different years.
By participating in these types of tastings, a wine-lover can learn a lot, whether they’re new to wine or they’ve become a vino master.
Now then, back to the event.
Winter WINEland, 2017 features tastings from 115 wineries located from Cloverdale south to Santa Rosa. Choose a particular area to visit, choose wineries from each area, or simply start driving and see where you end up! However NO ONE supports driving under the influence, and for that reason, very special rates and very special treats are afforded to designated drivers. While tickets may be purchased at the event, there are a limited number available, so advanced tickets are recommended.
What are the rules? In general:
- Choose a starting winery and bring your PDF ticket to registration at that winery.
- Bring your photo ID with you to the event.
- WEAR YOUR WRISTBAND during the entire event (Designated Drivers are issued different colored wristbands for easy identification).
- Keep track of your glass (or purchase a new one for $5).
- Wineries reserve the right to refuse tastings to anyone who appears to no longer be in control of their own selves.
- NO ONE under the age of 21 is permitted to attend the event, including babies. Please find a sitter.
- NO ANIMALS are permitted at the event.
- NO BUSSES are permitted at the event (vans are OK).
- If you choose a two-day event experience and wish to trade Designated Driver responsibilities, ask that your wristbands be cut off at your first stop on Sunday and new wristbands assigned.
- (These are the general rules – there are a few, more specific rules at the Winter WINEland website.)
Besides the wine tastings, there is also a Winemaker Breakfast and Q&A on Sunday. Tickets for are limited, so they must be purchased when you register.
Advanced tickets are priced as follows:
Weekend: $45 + $3.94 (tax) + $3.44 (service fee) = $52.38
Sunday: $35 + $3.06 (tax) + $2.89 (service fee) = $40.95
Designated Driver: $5+.44 (tax) + 1.26 (service fee) = $6.70
Designated Drivers are given a different color wristband and they are not served wine.
Breakfast Tickets: $25 + 2.19 (tax) + 2.35 (service fee) = $29.54
We hope to see you during this fun wine-weekend event!